REVIEW OF THE LIES OF WAYNE WEST AND SHIRLEY RICHARDS ON “RELIGIOUS HARDTALK”
On Tuesday September 18, 2012, Television Jamaica(TVJ) aired the programme “Religious Hardtalk” hosted by Ian Boyne where he brought on popular anti-gay activists Shirley Richards, attorney and former head of the Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship, and Dr. Wayne West who is a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona(UWI) and a consultant radiologist.
Despite the fact that the previous week’s discussion was limited mainly to the topic of atheism and secularism, Ian Boyne decided to allow these two activists to have their time to speak about homosexuality and abortion even though it is a programme created for religious discussion. Surely, atheism and secularism is not necessarily an opposing argument to the pro-life and anti-gay arguments about homosexuality so the LGBT community needs to have a rebuttal to Tuesday’s programme and do so fast.
Since many of the LGBT activists in Jamaica are usually unable to respond quickly to science, we at AGFC have always been well equipped as we usually know every thing the anti-gay movement says here and abroad as we keep up to date.
While doing our review of the “facts” presented in the interview we noticed that their answers were riddle with lies. Now AGFC is religiously and politically neutral but Dr. West and Shirley Richards believe in the Christian God and by reviewing the Christian religion we realised that they would both be sent to hell according to their religion. Below is short reminder for them both as to their deeds:
“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.” -Proverbs 19:9
Below we give our rebuttal to the arguments voiced on the programme which can be viewed here: http://www.televisionjamaica.com/Programmes/ReligiousHardtalk.aspx/Videos/21083
Boyne: In your view what is the best case against homosexuality.
West: Well I think the first thing we have to do is to examine the philosophical framework with something like homosexuality, the present homosexual agenda is operating. And I think we have to go back to the very fundamental… ahh.. either this universe is the first cause of all that is here and all the life that we see is simply the result of physics and chemistry or the universe itself is a product of an intelligent being. Now what is the evidence for that? Now we can go into that. But the implications, the philosophical framework that arise from those two considerations are entirely different. If you start with the universe being the first cause you are atheist and that is where the secular concept comes up. There is no basis for any morality. There is no basis for any discrimination in behaviour…ahh… it is merely a matter of chemistry. If my chemistry wants me to do a particular thing and your chemistry wants you to do something else then whose chemistry is right? How do you derive an ‘ought’, what’s ought to be done from that scenario? There is now way to do that and then it simply becomes something of power. So then if we start with a secular atheistic world-view, then all things are permissible. Not only is homosexuality permissible, so too is bestiality, incest and anything you can conceive. If however you think that the universe that we live in has an origin which is likely to be in a being you rather than an artefact that has always existed then the implications are different. I would argue that the overwhelming scientific evidence…ahh… even in the form of biological…umm… organisms, indicate that intelligence is behind this universe and as such, morality, the institutions we form and so on are derived from that intelligence. So this is where I would put the argument.
Boyne: But even if one’s world-view is theistic and there was an original intelligent cause to the universe it wouldn’t mean necessarily that that cause would be opposed to homosexuality. There are many Christians who accept homosexuality as a moral option, as a moral variation so that yes an atheistic position would crowd out any kind of necessary condemnation of homosexuality. But even within a theistic framework there could be an accommodation for homosexuality. Would you concede that?
West: Well…ahh… we are aware that there is almost nothing that you will not find someone who calls themselves Christian supported. So we take that as a granted.
Of course, Dr. West doesn’t realises he contradicts himself. First he says that the atheistic world-view has no “ought to” and thus because there is no moral basis to discriminate against certain actions therefore everything conceivable is permissible. He then goes on to say that as a Christian it is possible to support every thing using the religion as many have done. We don’t see much difference between these word-views. The only difference with the theistic one is that the adherents mentally create a supernatural being, have faith in it and then write a book about its instructions to mankind. With the theistic world-view, you can pray, worship or believe in every thing conceivable as well as make up your own rules as to what other humans tell you about what this deity said. In other words, you make up your own “ought to” like the atheist but you just need a few more additions such as rules, faith and a text to call it theism. If my deity says something and your deity says something else which is right?
Since society, whether theistic or atheistic, has so many “ought tos” where then do we get our collective morality from? Since humans are intelligent beings, we derive our morality or “ought to” from outcomes. Whichever reduces suffering and conflict is the better option. If Christianity or one religion dominates does it reduce conflict? Does it reduce suffering when Islamic Sharia law says the punishment for apostasy is death? Where do people want to live more? Secular democracies or religiously dominated societies? Surely, there is no question as to what works.
Since Dr. West had fun comparing the “atheistic world-view” as well as homosexuality to bestiality and incest, it is only fair that we have our fun comparing his “theistic world-view” as well as the construction of “ought tos” based on his Christianity. Right?
Interracial marriage was also opposed using God and the Bible. Argument from Loving v. Virginia case which legalised inter-racial marriage in the United States made by judge before he sent an inter-racial couple to prison for marrying:
“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
Based on the above do you think theism and Christianity should always be used as a reference for our collective morality?
West: It means that as a matter of policy and I think this is where Christian influence in policy… we have to look at outcomes… and there is no question…and I have looked at men who have sex with men, that is there areas I’ve looked at, that if we look at outcomes… the AIDS epidemic. There is no question…it was first identified among male homosexuals in American cities that had removed their sodomy laws. It eventually spread into the heterosexual population but if we look at the data on HIV you find that consistently, men who have sex with men, are at great risk rate…
Boyne: But you not seeing AIDS as a homosexual disease. You not holding to that, what some would call a backward view?
West: Let us look at the epidemiology. Let us look at the epidemiology. We have here, France! Who in 2000, WHO said that the French healthcare system was one of the best in the world,… ahh… sodomy was decriminalised in France in 1791. That’s more than 200 years ago. The french is a liberal society. Their healthcare system allows men who have sex with men to come in and be tested and they are also given Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy so much so that over 92% of the men who receive Anti-retroviral therapy have viral loads that are less than 500, which is very low , it can be as high as 75,000. Yet still, in 2010, we have research done by significant french researchers saying that HIV is out of control among men who have sex with men. Now they use the word “out of control” because we speak of incidence which is new cases of the disease. Ahh.. we speak of new cases per 100,000 of a particular population. So of the heterosexual population per 100,000 you would have 8 new cases of HIV. Among men who have sex with men for every 100,000, there were 1006 new cases. That study covered the period 2003-2008. They found that during that time it remained stable in that it was 1006 but it was exceedingly high. So much so that they said it was out of control .This is the reality around the world. Around the world. In July this year, July 22-27 there was a HIV/AIDS conference in Washington D.C. and researchers published in the Lancet which is the second, second most highly rated medical journal, that in all countries regardless of income , the one group in which HIV is increasing is men who have sex with men.
Boyne: The Lancet said that!
West: Here is a study which was published in a journal called AIDS behaviour in 2011, and it was published by the Centers of Disease Control, and we are often told that one needs to remove your buggery law in order to facilitate and to give more rights in order to decrease HIV among men who have sex with men. [Reads] The sexual health of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States is not getting better despite considerable social, political and human rights advances. Instead of improving, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remain disproportionately high among MSM and have been increasing for almost two decades. The disproportionate and worsening burden of HIV and other STIs among MSM requires an urgent re-assessment of what we have been doing as a nation to reduce these infections, how we have been doing it, and the scale of our efforts. A sexual health approach has the potential to improve our understanding of MSM’s sexual behavior and relationships, reduce HIV and STI incidence, and improve the health and well-being of MSM.[finished reading]. I’ll give you one other statistic.
There is a professor, Ronald Stall of the University of Pittsburgh who has published a lot of word on HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men. At the 2008 retroviral symposium, he was interviewed by a journal called the Body, this is on the internet. What he was able to point out that with an incidence rate of 2.4% in the United States, that is new cases per 100,000 per year, ahh.. men who have sex with men… if you were at 18 you were HIV negative. When you got to 40 you had a 41% chance of being HIV positive. Those are the stark epidemiological facts of HIV among men who have sex with men.
Dr. West’s history of HIV/AIDS is not so accurate. While it is true that the AIDS epidemic in the West started with male homosexuals, this didn’t necessarily happen in cities which had no sodomy laws. The first known case of AIDS in America was of Robert Raynford who lived in St. Louis Missouri and died in 1966(Read more about Robert Raynford). Not only did Missouri repeal its sodomy law in 2003 long after the epidemic started, he did not venture into large American cities like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. The earliest case of AIDS in the United States involved a female baby born in New Jersey in 1973 or 1974 to a sixteen-year-old girl, who was identified as a drug-injector who had had multiple male sex partners. The infant died in 1979 after having shown the symptoms of AIDS for 5 years; her stored tissues later tested positive for HIV-1.(Read more here)
HIV/AIDS was then spread very quickly into San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York by promiscuous gay men. There was nothing called “HIV/AIDS prevention in 1980 so no one was aware that this disease existed. However, New York didn’t repeal its sodomy law until 1980 and California in 1975 so it meant that these gay men would have been infected before 1975 when California’s sodomy law was repealed. The Centers for Disease Control also noted that in 1982, Haitians were discovered with AIDS just one year after it was discovered in gay men(See here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001123.htm). Simply because AIDS was first discovered in gay men means that they were first infected?
While what Dr.West said about France is quite true but we have a problem with the conclusion he draws from it.
HIV rates in Europe are rising because of complacency towards the epidemic which is caused by the effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy, not because the “homosexual lifestyle” is “inevitably unhealthy”. In other words, the fact that France has such a good healthcare system that gives free HAART is the reason for its rise in HIV among MSM. An article from the European AIDS treatment group explain this further:
“According to Wainberg and Montaner, numbers of AIDS-related deaths have “drastically dropped” since the introduction of the first successful antiretroviral regimens in the mid-1990s. Yet it “now appears as though these successes may be responsible for growing numbers” of new HIV cases among injection drug users, men who have sex with men and other vulnerable groups, they note.
The authors write that HIV/AIDS experts should “confront the reality” that achievements in antiretroviral therapy have led to “complacency in regard to high-risk sexual behavior that, in turn, has resulted in steep rises in numbers of new cases.” They add, “Clearly, we have to do a much better job in regard to public health, if we are to have any chance at limiting the spread of HIV.”
View article here: http://tinyurl.com/8qdsp5s
That is why the study he quoted said “Renewed safer-sex initiatives or new alternative prevention strategies targeting MSM are urgently needed.“ because we never knew HAART would have this effect. The problem is the safer-sex strategies which have not altered behaviour because of how they are contructed, not the “homosexual lifestyle”.
The study done by the CDC has been constantly misinterpreted and misused by Dr. Wayne West and Shirley Richards. His conclusion from the study is that giving gays more rights and reducing homophobia will not help to control the HIV epidemic. However, the entire study refutes that conclusion. What the study was trying to say was that the reason HIV was not improving in the MSM population was because present public health strategies do not take into account the uniqueness of MSM sexual behaviours and relationships as there are many areas left to research and not because giving gays more rights and reducing homophobia doesn’t work as West interpreted. The study said :
“sexual health approach requires a reframing of traditional public health strategies for disease prevention and control to reﬂect a positive approach to sexuality that recognizes the physical, emotional, and social aspects of human sexuality. It requires greater attention to how these aspects of human sexuality interact with each other and with other components of mental and physical health, what MSM desire and obtain from their sexual relationships, and how these relationships affect overall health and hinder or contribute to sexual risk taking behavior.“
What did the study recommend? It said:
“The success of efforts to improve sexual health and reduce HIV/STI risk among MSM will also depend heavily on efforts to address the social and cultural environment within which MSM live, including efforts to address the damaging effects that a hostile social and political environment can have on MSMs mental, physical, and sexual health. Working to eliminate stigma and discrimination through efforts to reduce homophobia in the general public and in schools, providing comprehensive sex education in schools that is appropriate for both heterosexual and homosexual students, ensuring that laws and policies promote the basic human rights of MSM and protect them from hate crimes, educating and supporting parents of young gay, bisexual men or those who are questioning their sexual identity, providing MSM with equal access to health insurance, and legally recognizing long-term relationships of MSM are important structural and policy changes that would likely improve the long-term sexual health of MSM and reduce HIV/STI disease burden.”
As you can see from the above, homophobia plays a large role in the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men. “Homosexual lifestyle” unhealthy or homophobia?
Read more here: http://antigayfactcheck.org/2012/07/09/hello-world/
West again misinterpreted what Ronald Stall said in his interview. He loves to state the “what” (MSM HIV rates are high)and not the “why”(because of things like homophobia). We did our research on what Ronald Stall said and we found out Dr. West cherry-picked what he liked out of what Stall said and used it for his own purpose while ignoring everything else that would not suit his anti-gay agenda. Ronald Stall believes that the reason HIV is so high in gay men is because of victimisation, drugs, depression, internalised homophobia and bullying, things Dr. West will not admit publicly on TV when anti-gay agenda has to be pushed.(See here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-pickett/ron-stall-interview-gay-mens-health_b_854147.html).
AGFC decided to email Mr. Stall. Here is the email and his reply:
Good day Dr. Stall,
There was a programme that was aired on our local television station here in Jamaica recently where a popular anti-gay activist used and quoted some of what you said at a symposium in 2008 when you were interviewed. According to him, because you calculated that HIV among present 18 year olds would put them at a 41% risk of HIV when they were 40 years old, homosexuality was unhealthy and therefore our laws criminalising homosexuality had to be maintained.
Do you agree with him?
Absolutely not. This was a misuse of our analysis for ideological purposes. The purpose of our analysis was to argue for an increase in the quantity and quality of HIV prevention work with MSM.
HIV prevention works best when communities can have open discussions about the risk of HIV and decide how best to fight the epidemic in their own cultural settings. These effective responses are made much more difficult when communities are highly stigmatized and/or are threatened with arrest for simply being who they are.
Threatening MSM with arrest will make HIV prevention more difficult and so will only work to raise HIV infection rates in Jamaica, not only among MSM as a group, but also among bisexual men and the men and women that they love.
Ron Stall, Ph.D., M.P.H.”
“Boyne: So homosexuality is clearly an unhealthy practice, lifestyle?
Richards: It’s not only unhealthy, it’s unnatural. It’s unnatural because …umm…the anus, the anus is being used for a purpose it was not designed for. The anus is an exit. Anybody can see, even a young child can see, that the anus is an exit point. I’m just saying, ordinary common sense tells us that eyes are used for seeing…[interrupted]
Boyne: The gays would be outraged Shirley that you would use what they would regard as a…[interrupted]
Shirley: [raises voice] The anus is an exit point and so it’s contrary to our design. It’s contrary to the purpose. What happens when we use things for a purpose for which it was not made? It’s gonna break down, it might leak, it just going multifunction, it just going break. I heard someone saying, you know… umm… a well known doctor in this country, who told me, who confirmed to me that anal activity, anal penetration is the most efficient way of passing on the HIV virus. Is that true doctor Wayne?
West: It is true. Studies have confirmed that.
Boyne: Have confirmed that?
West: Yes, it is about 18 times more efficient than by vagina.
Boyne: 18 times! So that the percentage of gay people with AIDS would be much higher than the percentage of promiscuous heterosexuals?
West: That…that… is true…in fact.. you know… the study that commented on the fact that men who have sex with men are the group around the world irrespective of income they looked at.. they spoke of the biology of sex… of umm..anal sex… which Mrs. Richards was speaking about, the fact that you looking at a part of the body that has a single layer for example of cells…its a columnar epithelium, its not stratified squamous epithelium unlike the vagina which has many layer of cells between which separates the surface and is designed for as if would wear and tear. And they’ve spoke about the type of network that men who have sex with men…
You know..there is a… when we speak of rights ..you know..we have to speak of rights to do what and rights at what cost. And there is a group in England… a charity.. its called the Terrence Higgins Trust. This is a charity that has the confidence of the English government… I say that because last year, I think in May 2011, the English government gave this charity something like over two hundred thousand pounds to prepare some material on sexual behaviour for children 14 years and over. I’m not sure what the content of that thing was but what I do know is that the Terrence Higgins Trust has a website, it is called Hardcell. And on that Hardcell it gives the options that men who have sex with men have in terms of their expression, because of their sexual orientation, they are attracted to men.. the options that…and when you look at the things that are done… and this is why we have to discuss what things that they do…quite apart from anal penetration, you have…your listeners can look these things up because I will not describe them, but they have things like fisting and felching and rimming and chariot riding and watersports. All of these activities can result in serious disease.
Boyne: And you are speaking as a medical doctor, as a scientist…
Wayne: In fact the site, the Terrence Higgins Trust is actually supposed to help to decrease HIV among men who have sex with men. So it gives them a warning that if you indulge in this, you are likely to get that…ahh… but nonetheless but it doesn’t suggest at anytime that these activities should not be pursued. And in fact, when you look at the lobbying of those who come and say that that people should have a right to do…. essentially people are lobbying for a right to pursue these kind of activities and make them legal.
Boyne: You know… when Willmott Perkins was alive, he would say regularly that people should have a right to harm themselves. If they are not harming others… if somebody wants to you know…smoke pot… if he’s not going to have an impact on other people.. if he’s just damaging his body..using cigarette for example. Cigarette we know is.. is..is… hazardous. It kills! But we don’t ban the sale of cigarette, perhaps we should. People know that cigarette is dangerous but they take it. If some people seeing the ‘unhealthiness’ of homosexuality choose to engage in it, shouldn’t they have that right? Some would ask.
West: Well, I tell you something. We didn’t always have AIDS as a pandemic. In 1965 there was no AIDS pandemic. In 1970 there was no AIDS pandemic. Now, you don’t see these two things juxtaposed but certainly there was a Stonewall Riot and after that the aggressive LGBT agenda, and the removing of sodomy laws and so on…ahhh…again… I have to be careful as a scientist …but what I can say…there is no question that there is a temporal…meaning in terms of time, and there is a spatial, in terms of place, in relationship to the AIDS pandemic which has killed over 33 million people, and which I think about 43 million are infected and the gay rights movement and the other thing is that is HIV is a serious challenge to men who have sex with men. And I heard Professor Figuero, commenting on the situation in Jamaica, saying that men who have sex with men act as a bridge into the heterosexual community and they infect women. Now I don’t know if anybody has ever seen someone acquire AIDS in public, this must be an exceedingly rare thing because the activity to acquire AIDS is a very private activity. It is an exceedingly costly public thing though because Jamaica has spent almost $592 million in two years just on prevention.
Boyne: So tax payers money is involved.
West: Or borrowed money.
As it pertains to Shirley’s argument about homosexuality being “unnatural”, AGFC is quite shocked and bewildered that an attorney would use such a weak argument. This “natural” justification for morality or criminalisation and disapproval of an activity is called a naturalistic fallacy(bad argument). This argument assumes that what is natural must be moral and what is unnatural isn’t. We advise everyone, whether on the pro or anti-gay side to avoid using this argument. Saying that what is unnatural is immoral would mean that the chemical in Shirley’s hair, her eyeglasses as well as her lipstick are immoral because those part of her body were not made for those things. By assuming what is natural is moral would mean that cannibalism, rape and infanticide are moral since animals engage in them.
As it pertains to Shirley mentioning that anal intercourse is 18 times more efficient at transmitting HIV than vaginal intercourse, while there is a study which mentioned this, this is only the case when there is no condom in use and many HIV infected MSM are not using anti-retrovirals. Condom and proper lubricant use with anal penetration reduces your chances of contracting HIV significantly. Using anal condoms reduces it even more.(Read here)
This “18 times more” statistic was from a meta-study done and published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers only tested unprotected anal intercourse rather than anal intercourse overall and they used reports from the 1980s and 1990s. This means that they were unable to see the effects of anti-retroviral drugs, which reduces transmission by 99.9%, since these were not available widely until the late 1990s-2000s. Can this statistic really be used to judge how risky anal intercourse really is over vaginal intercourse in transmitting HIV if they did not even take into account protected anal sex or anti-retroviral therapy? (Read more here)
The next point Dr. West made is that human rights and gay rights activists are lobbying for a right to pursue the activities of Hardcell playroom. Now, we don’t know what law he is reading but heterosexuals and lesbians already have a right to engage in all the activities of Hardcell Playroom in Jamaica. Why is it so terrible if MSM have the equal right to? The Hardcell, and even West himself, admits that these activities are uncommon and are only done by a tiny minority of gay men. While the Terrence Higgins Trust lists the risks and diseases associated with these kinds of activities there is no proof that anti-sodomy or gross indecency laws stop MSM from engaging in these activities or lower the risks associated with them. (Click to see Hardcell Playroom here *warning: explicit content*)
By stating that the “aggressive LGBT agenda” began at the same time and place as the HIV epidemic, Dr. Wayne is implying that the LGBT movement might be at fault for this epidemic. While is it true that AIDS was first observed clinically in gay men in the United States in 1981, HIV existed in places like Africa and Haiti long before that. We are glad that he doesn’t assume that the LGBT movement definitely caused this epidemic simply because of temporal and spacial links(because this would be a fallacy known as “Correlation does not imply causation”) as while AIDS was first found in gay men in 1981, just one year after in 1982, the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) realised that the disease was also present in Haitians, Haemophiliacs and intravenous drug users(See here). Simply because the disease was first found in gay men doesn’t mean that the disease first occurred in gay men. There was a large migration of “boat people” from Haiti in 1975.
As it pertains to the supposed “economic cost” of the activities of the Hardcell Playroom and anal penetration that Wayne quoted, this was taken from a Gleaner article that spoke about prevention for young people (See here). The article said:
“In the 2011-2012 Budget, which was tabled in Parliament yesterday, an additional $98 million is earmarked for spending on HIV/AIDS programmes this year. At least 50,000 young Jamaicans and adolescents will be targeted through prevention activities this year. A little more than $346.7 million has been set aside this year for the HIV/AIDS prevention programme, compared with $248 million last year.“
There is no proof that any of this money went to MSM, buggery or the activities of the Hardcell Playroom and there is no proof that maintaining anti-gay laws lower this amount. The money was spent on prevention for young people, most of who are heterosexual. Moreover, the majority of this money is grant money and not borrowed funds or tax-payers money. How can Dr. West claim that free grant money is borrowed and is “exceedingly costly” to Jamaica? Is this truth?
Dr. West quotes Professor Figuero by saying he said that MSM act as a bridge to transmitting HIV to women. However, what Dr. West will not admit, though we already informed him, is that the main reason men marry and have sex with women is to cover up their sexuality because of societal pressure from anti-gay views and behaviours. There was a study done in India which proved this. It said:
“The qualitative data provide insight into some of the reasons for the high rates of reported risk behaviours reported by married MSM. Stigma and discrimination were identified as their biggest concerns; most participants reported fear that their families would not accept their sexuality as one of their biggest barriers to disclosure of their sexual preferences.“
“Social pressures in India lead many MSM to marry and have children despite their sexual preference for men. This forced duplicity drives many of these men underground and leads them to high-risk behaviours, putting them and their families at high risk for HIV and associated infections.”
Richards: In fact it has very serious social consequences. What we are seeing too in other countries is a threat to more established rights… in fact it is a threat to human rights. Right now going on,..umm… there a number of cases going on before the umm… I can tell you about a number of them. I can tell you about Lillian Ladelle. Her case is now before the European Court of Human Rights. Umm..She was forced to…ahh.. as a registrar..she… felt forced to resign… she had to resign her job because she refused to enter…of umm… a civil union of same-sex people and because of that she was forced to resign. There is the case of Ake Green, pastor in Sweden who was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment because he dared to preach that homosexuality is a cancer to the society. There are others. The case of Chris Kempling, Dr. Chris Kempling in Canada, he was exemplary science teacher, he dared to write to his local newspaper protesting the inclusion of homosexual material within the educational curriculum. For that he was suspended for 30 days and fined $10,000 Canadian dollars. There is the case of the Johns, I don’t know if you heard about them, Eunice and Owen John,..yes…. They had fostered children 15 times before, and tried once more and all because they could no say that homosexuality is a good thing, their application was not approved. And so you looking at.. you look at this AGENDA, this AGENDA, which.. is stifling…this AGENDA which stifling freedom of expression, stifling freedom of conscience and also contrary to religious liberty. I must talk about that case of Harry Hammond. Harry Hammond in 2001, 60 odd year old street preacher. you know… this was in England. He took a sign and he went to have a street meeting. His sign said Jesus gives peace. Jesus is alive. Stop homosexuality. Stop lesbianism. Jesus is Lord. He was attacked by a group of 30 to 40 persons including homosexuals.
Boyne: Physically attacked?
Richards: Physically attacked! The British police came. The police was called. And who did the police arrest? Now Ian. In a case like that in Jamaica would you expect that the police would have arrested?
Boyne: Well, the attackers. Those who violated that right to security[laughing].
Richards: Absolutely! I would have thought that’s was common sense! Instead he was arrested. He was arrested for breach of the public peace. And not one of his attackers was arrested. They were the ones who gave evidence at his trial. He died within a year of that happening. And I want to know, why hasn’t the Jamaican press hasn’t carried these things!
As it relates to the case of Lillian Ladelle’s case, AGFC support religious freedom and wouldn’t not support Islington’s decision to force her to resign because she refused to carry out a civil partnership. However, her case is an isolated one. As it relates to Dr. Chris Kempling, he was not fined $10,000 Canadian dollars. In fact, he was not fined anything. Dr. Chris Kempling was suspended from his teaching job for 3 months because he advocated “ex-gay practice”, which is unethical in his counselling practice. Religious belief cannot be an excuse for advocating “therapies” which are not only ineffective but proven to be dangerous as mental health professional should base their opinions on science.
As it relates to Ake Green, while he was initially sentence to 30 days imprisonment, he appealed his case and won. The court said that he was protected by free speech and religion laws in Sweden(See here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4256945.stm). He was not imprisoned at all but Mrs. Richards will never mention that because anti-gay agenda is paramount.
As it relates to the Johns, they were not simply denied foster children because of their views on homosexuality but how they appeared to want to treat a child who was perceived as gay. We discussed this in our previous post here:http://antigayfactcheck.org/2012/07/09/anti-gay-christians-seek-pity-from-case-of-foster-parents-who-were-denied-the-privilege-of-raising-foster-kids/
The Johns vowed to “turn” a gay child, probably using questionable methods, which is a practice that has been scientifically proven to be harmful.
While the case of Harry Hammond was an unfortunate one, he wasn’t fined because there was no buggery law but because of the misuse of a Public Order Offence law that Jamaica doesn’t have and would violate our constitution. Dr. West wants to compare world views so let us compare. In Uganda anti-gay Christian activists travelled to lobby for an anti-homosexuality bill that is now before Uganda’s parliament. In that bill, a homosexual can be sentenced to death for what they call “aggravated homosexuality” which means engaging in homosexuality multiple times. One can get sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for not reporting a homosexual to the authorities for 24 hours, renting or employing a homosexual and for running a LGBT organisation.(watch a report about this bill here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXE0D1vupQY). This is what the anti-gay activists are not speaking about and then Shirley Richards claims that the Jamaican media are not covering her stories? They must cover a story about a man that got fined 300 pounds ten years ago rather than the upcoming deaths of thousands Ugandan homosexuals? Which world view and agenda is more “aggressive” and “fascist”? Three hundred pounds or death penalty?
West: Well what I would say Ian, I think this is a very important issue. And it should be framed properly. I think it should be framed in the context of world-views, how people see the world and I that is something we need to develop. But I also think that it must be framed in substance and we are in the information age. So we should not be obfuscating things. So I just want to re-hash that a discussion on why persons wish to remove section 76 and 79 of our article…Offences Against the Person Act. Should involve…To do what? Again I want to repeat that what is outlawed by section 76 as I understand it is anal penetration which is a high risk and the most efficient means of transmitting HIV in terms of intimate activity. And article 79 outlaws thing like felching, fisting and rimming, golden showers and so on. Why should we…why should Jamaica..ahh… accept that these are acts…that should be… people have a right to do these things in private?
Boyne: As was raised on the show last week. The question is ..uhh.. is raised…uhh… is pointed out. If we are not criminalising adultery, criminalising…umm… fornication, why are we criminalising homosexuality which along with those two attracted the death penalty in the Old Testament. Why be selective? Why adulterers go free, sinners, but homosexual sinners frowned on legally?
West: I would argue that since we are in a society where some people have rejected the Bible as a reference, then we need to use other criteria to evaluate some of these thing. Now I would leave the adultery and so on…but we come back to the financial and health effects of certain activities. And if we are going to be a society… policy[interrupted]
Boyne: So adultery and fornication not really as bad?
West: No. I’m not saying no cause they also have economic…
Boyne: But they are not criminalised.
West: So there is an inconsistency and I accept that. But the point to be made is that we have a situation, something which has severe economic and social consequences and health consequences.
Boyne: Would you say adultery has that?
West: It does! So maybe we should look at it. Maybe we should look at it!
Richards: Hold on! Hold on! Adultery causes a lot of pain, a lots of break-ups. All sorts of things. And we need to do something about that and I long for the day when we will have politicians standing up and taking a public stance for family and even a public stance against adultery and even say this is my wife and this is the woman I’ll stick to for the rest of my life. I long for the day a politician will come public and encourage the people of Jamaica to be true to their families and to their marriage and their marital vows. But here is the difference. Here is this difference. The difference is adultery, although, wrong and immoral and although painful is different because the whole matter of homosexuality involves an unnatural act. When it comes to adultery and fornication and so on its a matter of many times who the act is with and when. For this thing called homosexuality the act can never be right. It can never be right. Apart from that too what I said is there are social consequences. When you do not have the… the law acts as a defining point between right and wrong. And between that which acceptable and that which is not acceptable. When you pull that law homosexuality is going to be equivalent to heterosexuality.
Boyne: So if it decriminalise?
Richards: Absolutely! And then you’ll get it in the education curriculum. You have to understand…
Boyne: So decriminalisation is not as simple as we might think?
Richards: It is not as simple as…you pull….
Boyne: Cause we not talking about legalisation enuh Shirley. And you know the difference. You are a lawyer.
Richards: Once you decriminalise they are on the same footing and there is nothing that can stop it from coming within in the educational curriculum. There s nothing that can stop it. You’ll have the children looking at stories, King and King. You’ll have..umm…alternate family lifestyles…you going have the whole thing being taught under the guise of alternate family lifestyles. There is nothing that can stop it. Remove of that law is the key to the social re-engineering of this society.
Boyne: So you still believe that the police should have a right to go into people’s bedrooms and arrest them.
Richards: I’m not saying that…
West: If you asked me 5 years ago whether should remove our buggery law I would have said yes… because I say you can’t legislate righteousness. People will do what they wish to do[interrupted]
Boyne: So your’e views have changed?
Wayne: Even the health considerations…as bad as that is… the health consideration is bad and I think it should be brought to the public. Not only for us the people who are not involved in the lifestyle,but for persons who are involved in the lifestyle who are receiving this information. So that’s it. But what changed my mind, was the consideration that if you remove that law it brings all intimate activity to be on par. And therefore you would not be able as a society to distinguish between any type of intimacy. And therefore you would be able to… you will find that what is taught in schools will have to reflect that lack of discrimination between activities. So a parent for example would not be able to say I don’t want my child to be exposed to fisting or to felching, I mean I’m just using… these are not common… it says about 16% of men who have sex with men in England in 2006 were involved in fisting. But it would mean from a logical and coherent point of view, you would not be able to discriminate between that activity and what heterosexuals do. And that is what caused me to realise that I think that we need to be careful. And not only that, it is the removal of that law that prevents…or puts a constraint on freedom of speech because if all activities are the same… as I used to say in school as a boy, if everything is everything, then you cannot say that this one is better than that one or that this should not be allowed. More than that, in England, the Master of the Roles who is Lord Neuberger, you know the English have these unusual terms, Master of the Roles, it is a position dating back to the 12th century. He is the second highest judge in England and he made a statement based on the case with Lillian Ladelle that in England there will be no discrimination based on sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services and facilities. I hope I get it right. I might have misquoted.
Boyne: Wouldn’t you agree with that?
Wayne: Well. It sounds good. The implication for that is that you have your church. If your church has a facility that it rents, you will not be able to say..uhh.. let us say that there is going to be a little get together of men who have sex with men for example and they would…uhh… they would be thoroughly be in rost what they are doing, you would not be able to say our facility would not be rented…
Boyne: That would be discrimination?
West: That would be discrimination. And that is what people In England are feeling today. And in fact it is those considerations that caused me…
Boyne: So a Christian for example would not be able to advertise[sic]… to exclude gays…to say I am a Christian you are two men I not going to rent the place to you.
West: Listen, I don’t want him to be excluded. If somebody is coming to do a job. Suppose he is going to fly a plane? That’s not a problem. But suppose people are going to have party, a little party which would involve activities that I don’t support, you would not be able to discriminate on that basis and it is those considerations that caused me to change my mind.
Boyne: But decriminalisation…umm…Dr. West, would not affect that. Legalisation is a separate thing. All you are doing is that you are decriminalising homosexuality. You are repealing the buggery law which means homosexuality is not punishable. That is not the same as saying it is on par with heterosexuality.. It is not the same as legalising.
Richards: Once you have decriminalised it, you have placed it on equivalent… you have made it equivalent…
Boyne: No I’m talking about law now enuh.
Richards: No, no , no. In law. there is no statute that talks about heterosexuality now either. So both of them would now not be the subject of legislation. They would then be on par. Once you have decrminalised…[interrupted]
Boyne: So give me the subtle difference between decriminalisation and legalisation.
Richards: In this case there is none.
Wayne West begins by questioning why should we repeal section 76 and 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act. Well, these laws create great damage. Not only do they give people a license to people to demonise gay people but they also affect heterosexuals. The buggery law helps to facilitate child abuse with it discrepancy as we had discussed in our post here: http://antigayfactcheck.org/2012/07/14/the-dirty-secret-of-the-anti-gay-movement-in-jamaica/. The buggery law forces children who were forcefully buggered to get much less justice than those who were raped vaginally. The laws have no use since they do not stop gay men from having sex, as Dr. West admitted on another TV programme called All Angles, and as such if the world was going to turn upside down if people engaged in these activities, it would have happened already. The laws, along with anti-gay attitudes and behaviours also make it illegal for the Ministry of Health to educate and help prevent HIV in MSM and it also drives MSM underground away from HIV prevention programmes.
West then goes on to ask what do we want to give people a right to do felching, fisting etc. in private? Well, Jamaicans already have the right to do these things, if they are straight or lesbian. Section 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act only outlaws these activities for men who have sex with men. Dr. West needs to answer as to why these activities should remain illegal for men who have sex with men and not heterosexuals. It is not true that Section 79 criminalises fisting and felching right across the board.
Now AGFC is tired of Shirley Richards, not because she is a nuisance, but because we hate to see her embarrass herself on television. We are surprised that she sits down and tries to justify adultery, as a so-called Christian, because she claims it is natural and ends up using the naturalistic fallacy again we spoke about earlier. If this was a court of law, we would have won. If homosexuality should be illegal because it is “unnatural” as Shirley claims, then we should throw her in prison for the unnatural chemicals in her hair.
Ian Boyne raises a very good point further on. He says that legalising homosexuality is not the same as decriminalising it which is very true. To decriminalise something means to remove any criminal penalties associated with it while maintaining some regulations of the activity. To legalise something means to remove all regulations from the activity. We thought Shirley being an attorney would know this. Apparently not.
An example of homosexuality being decriminalised but not legalised would be in England during the Thatcher era. Though homosexuality(buggery) was decriminalised in England in 1967, Margaret Thatcher passed a piece of legislation known popularly as ” Section 28″ which said that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_28). This meant that while homosexuality itself is not punishable, it was banned from being taught in schools which removes the silly notion that decriminalising homosexuality MUST mean that it cannot have restrictions on it as it relates to education and that it MUST be on par to heterosexuality. AGFC is not proposing such a legislation in Jamaica, but Mrs. Richards and Dr. West must do their research before they spew their rhetoric.
Dr. goes on to say that “16% of men who have sex with men in England in 2006 were involved in fisting”. This statistic was taken from the UK Gay men’s Health Survey in 2006 which is an online survey of gay men in the UK. This was surely not a representative study as online surveys represent convenience samples. This survey would exclude gay men who were unwilling to do the survey and those who did not go to websites where the survey was available. Throwing this statistic around is not good science.
Dr. West then goes on to suggest that the buggery law protects freedom of speech. Now, we are not experienced in law, but any common fool who can read the buggery law will realise that it says nothing about speech in it. Let us ask a question. Since all religions are legally on par in Jamaica, would speaking out against another religion land you in prison? Do we have to criminalise Rastafarianism in order to speak out against it? Why would that then happen with homosexuality or these other practices Dr. West speaks of? Are people being punished in Jamaica for speaking out against female homosexuality which is 100% legal? Is his point logical?
It is a lie when Dr. West said that by giving right to homosexuals, a church would not be able to discriminate against them in terms of premises. Below is the exemption from the Equality Act 2010 in England which includes protections for sexual orientation:
Part 3 talks about services and public function
Part 4 talks about premises
Part 7 talks about associations
This paragraph applies to an organisation the purpose of which is—
(a)to practise a religion or belief,
(b)to advance a religion or belief,
(c)to teach the practice or principles of a religion or belief,
(d)to enable persons of a religion or belief to receive any benefit, or to engage in any activity, within the framework of that religion or belief, or
(e)to foster or maintain good relations between persons of different religions or beliefs.
(3)The organisation does not contravene Part 3, 4 or 7, so far as relating to religion or belief or sexual orientation, only by restricting—
(a)membership of the organisation;
(b)participation in activities undertaken by the organisation or on its behalf or under its auspices;
(c)the provision of goods, facilities or services in the course of activities undertaken by the organisation or on its behalf or under its auspices;
(d)the use or disposal of premises owned or controlled by the organisation.
Read the law here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/schedule/23
As you can see from the above, religious organisations do not violate the rules on premises when it comes to sexual orientation if they choose to reject a get together of men who have sex with men as they are exempted.
Boyne: So Shirley you will but up a big fight…the Lawyers Christian Fellowship would put up a big fight against any attempt to repeal the buggery law in Jamaica?
Richards: Ian, I would hope that it wouldn’t be the Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship only. I would hope that all of Jamaica would want to understand the issues and would in fact put up a fight. Because you see, law..[interrupted]
Boyne: The aid going cut off. The Europeans putting pressure. If the Americans are putting pressure with our porus economic situation. What we going to do?
Richards: You know, I was reading recently about the abolition of the slave trade and the abolition of slavery generally. One historian said it was the most irrational thing that the British parliament could ever have done in terms of repealing the law…uhh… in terms of banning the slave trade and then eventually slavery. Mark you know, profits were going down but it was still the pillar of the British economy. So I mean I don’t think… I wish Ian we could stand up for our principles and find a way.. I really do believe that if we were to band together, for example, it is what, 53 countries in the Commonwealth and 43 of us still have these laws. Why are we allowing the other 11 countries to bully us. Why cant we get together?
Boyne: Because those are the richest.
West: Well I would say Ian, those 11 countries, they removed their laws based on slogans. Because a lot of the studies that are indicating the problems associated are fairly recent studies, studies coming from about 2008, 2009. So having gone ahead based on slogan that gay is good without evidence to back that up. We in Jamaica now have evidence. Like there is a study that came in December out last year out of New York. New York just passed a bill for same-sex marriage. But the fact of the matter is, the research out there show that , men who have sex with men, had a 140 fold risk of HIV and syphilis. Now if you are going to make policy and you have that type of epidemiological data in front of you , you have to sit down and think. But clearly in those countries they made their changes in their laws based on slogans. And I also wonder how many ordinary people of those countries are aware of this kind of data. Because it is very likely that the media in those countries do not present this type of data…
Shirley can go on and compare international pressure to the slave trade all she wants. The fact of the matter is those same slave masters implemented the buggery law and she will cry about the buggery law when it is repealed just like the slave masters when they had their slaves taken away from them. She has dedicated her life to bullying gay Jamaicans with the buggery law just as how the slave master bullied the slaves and it shall end one day.
South Africa complained when the whole word applied international pressure and they eventually gave in. They claimed that it was their business and everyone should mind their own business. Ironically, Jamaica was the first country to boycott South Africa.
It is quite interesting that Dr. West says that those 11 countries removed their laws based on slogan that “Gay is Good” without proof when the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society has its own slogan that “Anti-gay attitudes, policies and behaviours are good” for a healthy society. Where is the proof that a buggery law creates a healthy society? Where is the proof that anti-gay law, attitudes and behaviours help family life? In fact, it damages family life as we discussed earlier as gay men are forced to marry innocent women out of anti-gay pressure and end up hurting women and destroying families. The buggery law is being supported with a slogan because out of all the science Dr. West quoted, none of them have said or proved that a buggery law controls the HIV epidemic among MSM.
In regards to the study “Men who have sex with men have a 140-fold higher risk for newly diagnosed HIV and syphilis compared with heterosexual men in New York City” that Dr. West quoted at the end, here are some highlights from the full study we found here: http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/753662
What did that study say?
1)”The estimated numbers of men living in New York City ranged from 2.5 to 2.6 million between 2005 and 2008, with an MSM prevalence of 6.1% in 2005, 4.7% in 2006, 5.0% in 2007, and 4.6% in 2008.”
Not only is their prevalence low but it decreased. Compare that to Jamaica, where the prevalence rate for MSM is 32% and there is a buggery law.
2) “The prevalence of MSM was highest in men 40 to 49 years old and lowest among men 18 to 29 years old”
Lower in the young? Could it be a sign of the future?
3) “MSM were more likely to report poor mental status and a diagnosis of depression (26.0% vs 10.5%) than men who have sex with women.”
Poor mental health , caused by familial and societal rejection, leads to unsafe sexual behaviours like unprotected sex.(See here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19117902).
Here we can see from this study done partly in New York that anti-gay attitudes and behaviours contribute to the HIV situation among MSM in New York. It said:
“Bivariate analysis showed that homophobia, racism, financial hardship, and lack of social support were associated with unprotected anal intercourse with a serodiscordant or sero-unknown partner.”
“Future prevention research and program designs should specifically address the differential impact of social discrimination and financial hardship on lack of social support and risky sexual situations among Latino and Black MSM.”
See it here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22401516
Also Dr. West is implying that legalising same-sex marriage in New York will make the situation worse and that banning same-sex marriage will keep HIV under control. Actually, the science proves the opposite. According to the article below which talks about two studies done, same-sex marriage improved the health of gay men in Massachusetts and also in California. It said:
“A study published in February by the American Journal of Public Health found that gay men in Massachusetts were in better physical and mental health after that state became the first to recognize same-sex marriage in 2003. Researchers examined the medical records of 1,211 gay and bisexual men who went to “a large, community-based health clinic” in a “large metropolitan city” and compared the patients’ use of medical services before and after the law went into effect.”
“Mental health improved as well, according to the study. The number of visits to the clinic related to a mental health issue dropped from 3.35 per patient, on average, to 2.93, while mental healthcare costs fell from $331.08 to $283.59.”
The study can be viewed here: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300382
There is also another study from the same Journal about California. The article said:
“The California researchers found that men who were legally married to men were more likely than other gay men to have a “positive affect.” That means they were more apt to be “relaxed,” “calm” and “peaceful” and to feel hopeful for the future, among other psychological measures. Gay men in domestic partnerships did not get the same boost, the researchers found.
Likewise, gay men with legal husbands were also less likely to be depressed, according to the study. The same was not true for gay men in domestic partnerships.”